Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Potentials for prosperity without growth: Ecological sustainability, social inclusion and the quality of life in 38 countries

  • Martin Fritz
  • Max Koch
Publishing year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 191-199
Publication/Series: Ecological Economics
Volume: 108
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Recent contributions to ecological economics and related social sciences indicate that issues such as climate change, resource depletion and environmental degradation cannot be effectively addressed under conditions of continued economic growth. This paper aims at empirically identifying structural potentials and policy challenges for prosperity at scaleswhere economic development remainswithin ecological carrying capacities. Building

on the growing literature that interprets prosperity ‘beyond’ economic growth, the paper presents a threedimensional

concept to operationalise prosperity in terms of ecological sustainability, social inclusion, and the quality of life. These dimensions are measured using data from sources such as TheWorld Bank, the Global Footprint Network and the OECD. The results of cluster and correspondence analyses indicate the existence of five

‘prosperity regimes’ and demonstrate that all aspects of prosperity – including (unsatisfactory) ecological performance – are linked to economic development. However, our findings also indicate that in order to achieve a decent minimum of prosperity moderate levels of the material living standard are sufficient. Further increases in the

material living standard do not lead to significant additional prosperity; instead they cause greater environmental harms. The paper concludes by highlighting potentials for prosperity for each of the ‘prosperity regimes’ and corresponding policy challenges.


  • Social Work
  • wellbeing
  • social inclusion
  • ecological sustainability
  • prosperity
  • steady-state economy
  • GDP


  • ISSN: 0921-8009
Max Koch
E-mail: max [dot] koch [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se


School of Social Work

+46 46 222 12 68


School of Social Work
Lund University
Visiting address: Allhelgona kyrkogata 8, Lund
Postal address: Box 23,  22100 Lund, Sweden
Telephone : 046-222 00 00 (switchboard) 
Telefax: 046-222 94 12

The Faculty of Social Sciences | Campus Helsingborg